Well, the wait is finally over as another exciting season of major league baseball is now under way. Here's a look at some of the top moves in baseball this week:
Brett Lawrie, 3B - placed on the 15-day DL (ribs)
Impact: The revamped Blue Jays opened the season without their regular third baseman, as Lawrie experienced soreness in the left side of his ribcage in spring training. The 23-year-old had a decent enough first full season in the bigs last year, as he hit .273 with 11 homers, 73 runs scored and 13 stolen bases. Maicer Izturis and Mark DeRosa should split time at the hot corner until Lawrie's return, which should be in a couple weeks. Neither player is adequate enough with the bat to be worthy of consideration in all but deep fantasy leagues.
Matt Garza, RHP - placed on the 15-day DL (lat)
Impact: No surprise here. Garza hasn't thrown since he injured his lat muscle in mid-February, and he's still a few weeks away from returning to game action. The righty suffered through an injury-plagued 2012 season after a solid year in 2011 (3.32 ERA, 8.95 K/9). With Garza and Scott Baker both on the shelf, the Cubs are forced to go with Scott Feldman and Carlos Villanueva to round out their rotation. Both pitchers are middle-of-the-road guys who aren't likely to add too much value to a fantasy team.
Cody Ross, OF - placed on the 15-day DL (left calf)
Impact: Ross was one of the more productive hitters on a Red Sox team that was decimated by injuries last year. The outfielder hit .267 with 22 home runs and 81 RBI and was looking to boost those numbers in the hitter-friendly confines of Chase Field this year. He's fairly close to working his way back into action, but it remains to be seen how much playing time he'll get when he comes back. Arizona will have a crowded outfield, especially with Adam Eaton expected back next month.
Henderson Alvarez, RHP - placed on the 15-day DL (right shoulder)
Nate Eovaldi, RHP - placed on the 15-day DL (right shoulder)
Impact: The Marlins were forced to open the year without two members of their starting rotation, as both Alvarez and Eovaldi began the season on the DL. Alvarez was acquired in the controversial deal with Toronto in the offseason that cost the Marlins most of their best players. His numbers coming into the season aren't pretty, as he owns a career 4.52 ERA and a strikeout rate of just 3.80 per nine innings. Still, he is just 22 and has plenty of room for improvement - after he returns from a right shoulder injury in about a month. Eovaldi hasn't been much better, as he comes into the 2013 season with a career 4.15 ERA, 1.48 WHIP and a horrific 5-15 record. But, like Alvarez, he's still young and could thrive in the pitcher-friendly atmosphere in Miami. He's expected back by the end of April as he recovers from inflammation in his right shoulder. In the meantime, Miami will go with an underwhelming rotation of Ricky Nolasco, Kevin Slowey, Wade LeBlanc, Alex Sanabia and Jose Fernandez.
Chase Headley, 3B - placed on the 15-day DL (left thumb)
Impact: Headley was one of the most improved hitters in baseball last year, as he crushed 31 long balls and drove in 115 runs (after hitting just four home runs and 44 RBI the previous year). He should miss most, if not all of April as he works his way back from a fractured left thumb. Cody Ransom and Jedd Gyorko should share the duties at third base (with Gyorko also seeing time at second). While Ransom isn't likely to be fantasy relevant, Gyorko is definitely worth a look after hitting .328 with 24 home runs and 83 RBI in just 92 games at Triple-A Tucson last season.
Colby Lewis, RHP - placed on the 15-day DL (right forearm)
Impact: Lewis was on pace for perhaps the best season of his career in 2012 before he tore a tendon in his right forearm that ended his season in mid-July. He finished with a 6-6 record and a 3.43 ERA over 16 starts. He isn't expected back until late May at the earliest, giving 24-year-old rookie Nick Tepesch an opportunity to hold down the fifth spot in the rotation. Tepesch went 5-3 with a 2.89 ERA in 12 starts at High-A before being promoted to Double-A. He didn't fare quite as well at that level, as he posted a 4.28 ERA in 16 appearances (14 starts). His potential for helping a fantasy team appears limited due to his inexperience and hitter-friendly home ballpark.
David Ortiz, DH - placed on the 15-day DL (heels)
Impact: Ortiz put together an impressive 2012 season before he suffered an Achilles' tendon injury while running the bases in July that shortened his season. He finished the year hitting .318 with 23 home runs and 60 RBI in just 90 games. He had hoped to be ready for Opening Day this year, but was shut down on March 10 after experiencing inflammation in both heels. The injury to the 37-year-old designated hitter opened the door for rookie Jackie Bradley Jr. to break camp with the Red Sox. The 22-year-old Bradley hadn't played above Double-A, but earned a shot with a productive spring training. Between High-A and Double-A last year, he hit .315 with nine home runs, 63 RBI, 90 runs scored and 24 stolen bases. He is still very young and inexperienced, so potential fantasy owners shouldn't expect too much from him in his first taste of major league action.
Derek Jeter, SS - placed on the 15-day DL (left ankle)
Impact: The Yankees were hit hard by injuries before the season even began, as Jeter joined A-Rod, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson (among others) on the DL to open their 2013 campaign. Jeter had a nice 2012 season, as he posted his highest hit total (216) since 1999 en route to a .316 average. While he is eligible to come off the DL on Saturday, GM Brian Cashman has already stated that he won't be ready by then. As Jeter works his way back from his ankle injury, Eduardo Nunez gets a chance for some regular playing time. Nunez isn't likely to hit for much power or be a run-producing machine, but he could provide some steals and a decent average.
Johan Santana, LHP - placed on the 15-day DL (left shoulder)
Frank Francisco, RHP - placed on the 15-day DL (right elbow)
Shaun Marcum, RHP - placed on the 15-day DL (neck)
Impact: Santana will miss the entire season after undergoing shoulder surgery Tuesday. The 34-year-old lefty had a disappointing season in 2012 (6-9, 4.85 ERA) after missing the entire 2011 campaign due to injury. Francisco was the Mets closer last year and the results were not good: a 5.53 ERA and 1.61 WHIP over 48 appearances (though he did convert 23 of 26 save opportunities). He was inexplicably anointed the team's closer once again in spring training this year before he was shut down due to soreness in his right elbow. As a result, Bobby Parnell rightfully inherited the closing gig to start the year and could keep the job if his performance warrants it. Marcum is dealing with some soreness in his neck, but could end up missing just one start. Aaron Laffey seems to be the most likely candidate to fill in for Marcum on Sunday, but is best avoided in most fantasy formats.
Ryan Ludwick, OF - placed on the 15-day DL (right shoulder)
Derrick Robinson, OF - contract purchased from Triple-A Louisville
Impact: Ludwick will require surgery after he tore the cartilage in his right shoulder during a slide into third base during the season opener on Monday. While it is still unclear how much time he'll miss, fantasy owners should assume he'll be out for at least a couple months. After a disappointing 2011 season, Ludwick bounced back nicely last year, clubbing 26 home runs and driving in 80 runs with the Reds. Chris Heisey should man left field for the time being, though his career numbers aren't all that impressive. His chances of helping out a fantasy team appear minimal, especially with speedster Billy Hamilton waiting in the wings in the minors. Robinson adds some outfield depth, but that's about it.